Last time, on the Doom Retrospective, Victor captured the FF in his micro-world but good fortune did not smile on him and they escaped. Doom is still stuck in his schlocky 60’s days, but it gets better Doomites, I promise. At the end of the issue, Doom escapes, as usual, into the real world with the Fantastic Four hot in pursuit! We pick up our story in Fantastic Four #17 (Aug. 1963). But, first, the scorecard:
Record vs Fantastic Four: 0-4 (Soon, Richards. Soon.)
Times Avoided Capture: 4 (YES!)
Times Screaming about Richards!: Surprisingly, 0
Treacherous Underlings foolishly turning on Doom: 1 (Fuck you, Namor.)
Times Left Adrift in Space/Shrunk into Nothingness: 2
Our tale begins with the team saying good-bye to Ant-Man, with Sue once again gushing about how cute someone other than Reed is. Keep it in your pants, Sue. Although I do agree that you can do better than Richards. We next get a recap of last issue and their daring escape attempt.
Johnny basically throws up in his mouth just thinking about Thing’s face, which is a reasonable reaction. The team is stumped because they don’t know where Doom could have run off to. The city is so big! Leave it to Reed, though, to science his way past this little problem.
A radar that detects human flesh wrapped in steel? How does that radar work? He might as well have said “I have developed a radar to detect gypsy men named Victor with superiority complexes.” Boop. Boop. Boop. “Got ’em!” Give me a fucking break, 1960’s pseudo-science. It’s not even pseudo-science. The rest of the team, knowing that Reed’s pimped out stationary bike couldn’t possibly work, wisely fan out and start their own searches.
Torch babbles something about heat waves and quickly gives up, probably to chase a ball of string down a hallway or something. Thing sees Doom standing on the street in broad daylight! What luck!
He springs into action, even getting compliments from mentally handicapped people who think he has gone so far into the ugliness spectrum that he has come back around to the beauty spectrum. Fat chance, mentally challenged citizens. Of course, since Thing is only marginally smarter than Torch, it turns out to be a knight advertising an eatery. You’re such an idiot, Thing. Doom would never idly chit chat with the riff-raff in the middle of your fetid city! Invisible Girl similarly strikes out.
The team meets back up and wallows in their collective failure. Reed claims Doom is too smart to leave clues that can be tracked. But what about your human flesh in steel radar, Reed? Doom must have removed his armor and then his flesh to avoid your fiendish device. He truly is the smartest man alive. Faced with their own shortcomings, the team decides to just forget about Doom for a while and go on with their busy social lives. Seems like the responsible thing to do.
Unfortunately, the lobby of their building is filled with adulating fans and they can’t get out without attracting attention. Luckily, a janitor takes them aside and allows them to leave the building via the service elevator.
Oh ho! Suck it, Batman. Matches Malone is like a little kid’s Halloween outfit next to this masterpiece! Who is the real master of disguise? The only question I have is whether Doom removed his helmet and somehow covered up his hideous face or did he slap a latex mask on top of his armor? Either way, it worked. Haha. What diabolical trap have these witless morons fallen into?
Doom returns to his hidden lab and releases his newest invention, lighter-than-air robots, to track down each member of the team via the device implanted on their hands. Of course, Sue’s has polka dots because it’s the 1960’s and she’s a woman. Come on, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Get your shit together. The four return to base with their robot stalkers in tow and Reed figures out that they have discs planted on them and the followers fade away. Obviously, this is what Doom planned.
Wait, what? You can monitor their every movement and went to the trouble of disguising yourself to plant something on them and this is the payoff? Doom watched them like a creep on his little TV, chuckling about how he embarrassed them. Come on, Victor. You could have had those discs explode. Or maybe the robots explode or shoot acid all over their smug faces. What a missed opportunity. But now that his creepy little game is over, Doom is really going to get serious.
Ah, so Doom is going to attack their loved ones. Serves you right for not having a secret identity, Fantastic Four. We are then treated to a little emo Doom (first canonical appearance of Emo-Doom!), where he wonders how a grotesque mockery of life like Thing can have a girlfriend and he is stuck in his lab creeping on people through TV monitors. It’s your towering intellect, Victor. It’s not you, it’s us. We are all intimidated. Though, you might want to not have mirrors around you all the time.
With a push of a button, Doom uses a “grappler” ray (suck it, Magneto) and kidnaps Alicia by bringing her aboard his airship. It’s amazing that Doom can easily capture her with a push of a button and yet still cannot defeat Richards and his band of cretins. Maybe you should have used the floating robot on Alicia and used the grappler to fling Reed into space. Just a thought.
Doom sends a message to the team stating he can cause havoc in the city and if they try to stop him, Alicia gets it. He warns the FF to steer clear of him or else. Reed is ready to go off and pound Doom but Thing punches him. No way is he going to do anything to get Alicia hurt! The team is fighting amongst themselves. Doom’s hour of triumph is at hand! I’m tingly. With the team ineffective and out of the way, what will Doom do? Demand world leaders submit to him? Ask for unmatched wealth?
Come on, Victor. Think bigger. UGH. Doom gets the FF out of the way so he can be Secretary of the Interior or some shit? Are we sure this isn’t a Doombot run amok thinking he is the real Victor von Doom? We go to President Kennedy in the oval office. We never see his face, which is weird, but ok. Kennedy and his advisors talk and Kennedy makes the decision to tell Doom to get bent. Oh, you will rue this day, Mr. President. Doom’s anger will be incandescent. His revenge will be swift.
Oh, yes. That’s the stuff. Doom acts quickly. The entire country is brought to its knees. Do you regret what you have done, Mr. President? Have you not seen the full fury of Doom? Has it not left you trembling? Even the Soviets are petrified of Doom’s power. The government, with nowhere left to turn, approach the Fantastic Four, who seemingly have been sitting morosely on a couch this entire time. Reed says he has a secret plan. Sure, he does. Victory will be Doom’s! Finally, Doom’s!
Reed has located Doom’s airship, but the defenses are impossible to bypass. Why you ask?
Oh, Doomsy, you diabolical genius! I knew those robots you made were more than just a creepy way to amuse yourself. Why didn’t you tell us? I should have never doubted you. Never again.
Reed gets to work on temporarily curing Thing, as if this plan has any chance of succeeding. Reed does manage to turn Thing back into Ben Grimm and strangely, his looks don’t improve. I mean, look at that mug.
Reed puts Ben Grimm into a little bubble and shoots him off to Doom’s airship. Ben is about to change back into the Thing but wills himself to stay human for a second longer and he breaches the airship! There is a sinking feeling in my stomach. Thing disables the disintegrator ray and the rest of the team boards the ship. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Doom does call his airship his “Sanctum Sanctorum,” though. Dr. Strange is a month old at this point. Suck it, Dr. Strange. There is only room for one Doctor with a highly improbable and descriptive last name in this feature. Hit the bricks.
The Four fan out to search the ship for Doom’s lair. But Doom expects all! Doom prepares all! Torch, Reed, and Thing all fall into traps and fight for their very lives to escape them! But they somehow manage it. But Doom will not be deterred. He has traps upon traps waiting for this hapless band.
Yes! Finally. Three of the Fantastic Four shunted off into another dimension! Victory is Doom’s! Suck it, Fantastic Four! Suck it, heroes of the world! There is a new sheriff in town. It took 5 appearances, but it finally happened. It feels good. I hope they change the title to “Doctor Doom” next issue, so I can start reviewing Doom’s solo title. But, wait. What’s this? Do you hear that rumbling?
There is an explosion and Thing comes bursting through the wall. How? Why?
Oh, screw you, Torch. That’s impossible. Damn it. Well, no matter, because Doom still has beautiful deranged Alicia Masters as his prisoner. You have no leverage, cretins! The day still belongs to Doom! Hey, where is Invisible Girl while all this is going on?
Of fucking course. So Sue hides Alicia and fights Doom when he enters. Bah! Doom only needs one hostage and one helpless 1960’s female is as good as any other. They fight for a full page. But Doom’s victory is inevitable. He is in full armor, after all. And she is a waif of a woman. Doom finally gets his hands on her.
I’ll be the first to admit this is not going well. Doom decides to stop fucking around and takes out an “ultra-heat beam” and is just going to sweep the room with it, killing Sue whether he can see her or not. As he is about to pull the trigger, the other three goons bust into the room. So, what is left for Doom to do?
He jumps out of his airship (sans parachute) to avoid capture, of course! Still uncaptured, baby! I honestly thought this was Doom’s time. So close. I think he’s making progress, though. The Fantastic Four’s days are numbered, although I admit I haven’t felt this bummed since Namor prevented Doom from pushing a button. But at least our boy remains free to plot and scheme another day.
Next: Doom decides to go down a weight class and fights Spider-Man! Doom’s first crossover! I’m sure a swift victory over a teenager will buoy his confidence.
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